Thursday, October 9, 2014

Healing My Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

Healing My Eyes to See and Ears to Hear
by Nancy Holbrook

I started meditating after I had an excruciating surgery to repair a broken ankle. I broke my ankle the middle of February and tried the casting, but my ankle never healed so I had to do surgery at the beginning of May. This year and last have been tough, tough, tough.

I practiced Qigong before I broke my ankle, but it requires standing and movement, so Qigong was out. I was looking for some other modality to help me heal. Basically, the entire month of May I was off my feet and stuck in bed after the surgery. My soul sister Robyn had told me about the book The Gift of Giving Life, and so I signed up on the newsletter. I got the e-mail about the meditation class, and once I read about it I couldn't stop thinking about it. I read Felice’s entire blog about meditation and still kept putting off the class. Yoga and meditation are not my thing. I've tried to do yoga before, but I have a really difficult time sitting still. I ended up signing up for the class late but getting in. My intention for doing meditation was to help heal my ankle and recognize and receive personal revelation more easily.

I started with just Kirtan Kriya but pretty quickly added the anger and prosperity meditations. When I started meditating with Kirtan Kriya, I would cry almost every time I meditated. When I added the other meditations, I would sometimes cry through all three, or sometimes one or two. Sometimes I would have to stop because I was crying so hard, and I would start over again. When I would meditate, all the unpleasant emotions I was trying to hold in or ignore or press down would come bubbling up to the surface, and I would have to feel them and deal with them.

I was really angry that I broke my ankle and that it didn't heal. I was frustrated and angry that I had made the wrong choice and not gotten surgery right away. I was angry that my best friend, who I love, was moving away. I was angry that even though I was doing everything I could to keep the commandments and my covenants, challenge after challenge after challenge were breaking on my head and my family. I was angry that I had a new, very overwhelming, challenging calling. I was angry that God didn't give me a miracle and heal me. I felt like He was picking on me and my family and had way more confidence than I did in my abilities to manage everything.

After I started meditating, I felt like my ankle finally started to heal. I wasn't in so much pain all the time. But meditating was helping to heal my spirit too. I have been learning a lot about myself, my body, and how much more intertwined and connected our emotional/spiritual self is with our bodies.

I started doing the anger meditation because I have four kids, and sometimes it seemed that out of nowhere I would have this white hot rage after the twentieth tantrum of the day or some other small thing (like the straw that broke the camel’s back). The anger was like lightning—quick, loud, and destructive. And I would always feel bad afterward and beat myself up for being a bad mother.

Through many sources, including meditation, I came to understand that anger is a secondary emotion. It was my manifestation of feeling helpless, lonely, constantly worried, overwhelmed, unloved, or all of the above. Many emotions were unpleasant and difficult, and I wouldn't acknowledge or address them, trying to will them away. But when I thought I was safe, they would come popping up like a ball held underwater that finally wiggles its way out unexpectedly. They were expressed many times through anger. Once I had worked through why I was currently angry, memories and emotions from my childhood starting coming up. I would relive how I felt sometimes as a child—helpless, lonely, confused, unloved.

I came to realize why I have difficulty really listening and learning through hearing. As a child, I was rascally and would do anything to get out of chores or work, and I would make messes wherever I went. When I was really young, I didn't understand when I would get yelled at, be called names, or feel a burning resentment/anger from my mother. I know that is why I learned to tune out what I was hearing––it hurt too much to take it in. As I got older, I learned how to get positive attention from my parents by cleaning the house, watching my siblings, and so forth. But until I was about nine years old, when I started helping around the house, I didn’t think my mother liked me (not that I blame her). This tuning out was a problem when I first got married––and still is because I can completely tune out and be somewhere else entirely when things are tough in the moment, and I don't consciously do it.

All these memories and clarity of thought have not made me angry or resentful of my parents. They did the best they could with what they had. And I feel more compassion for them because I understand how difficult parenting is. I wish I could go back in time and hug them and give them what they needed.

This growth has helped me tremendously with my own children. I think it has been a gift from God, because now I remember what it feels like to be on the receiving end, and I can change these patterns in my own parenting. I can break these destructive traditions in my life.

In the past I had struggled to parent differently from how I was parented. When I would find myself yelling and screaming and demeaning my children to get their compliance, using anger and fear as the whip, I would then go to the library and check out more parenting books. I would listen to parenting techniques and books in the car as I ran errands until I had the techniques memorized. I would listen to general conference. I would pray. I would try to implement the new techniques and make new goals. But now through the help of the Atonement and meditation, I am changing from the inside out. With Christ, I am rooting out my old heart and replacing it with a new heart. I am changing from the inside out, which is light years more effective. I am finally understanding better how to access the power of the Atonement to heal and change. This process started years ago, but with meditation it is much faster and for some reason easier.

Don't get me wrong. All is not butterflies and rainbows at my house. I am a work in progress. I still have adult temper tantrums and yell and stomp my feet. But I think they are fewer and further between, and the knee-jerk reaction of anger is fading. I can consciously choose my reaction. I can chose to react with love instead of anger.

With meditation, my eyes are finally open. I can see the way things really are in the world. I can see my children. I can see my husband. My understanding of the gospel, the scriptures, prayer, and faith are opening wide up. I'm not asleep. I pray often that I can see my children for who they really are. I feel like I have eyes to see and ears to hear, like the scriptures say. I realize who and what is influencing me and those around me and how to better protect myself and my loved ones.

1 comment:

  1. I loved your story! So real and honest! I would love to share an experience I had. One day I was meditating about my broken home growing up and asking why I needed to go through that. Then the spirit came to talk with me. Spirit: how long do you think you lived with Heavenly Mother and I? Me: probably a million years or so. Spirit: were we not perfect parents? Did we not give you all the love, compassion and everything you needed? Me: well I'm sure you did, but what of all the heartache? Spirit: that was simply for your experience, to understand love better. We already gave you everything you need so you don't need to hold onto any of the pain! The feeling I got from that experience was I was to have faith that I'm already loved perfectly by perfect heavenly parents and that love heals all wounds no matter how great!